A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Selling ad space in the classroom

Does this cross a line?
Last month, New Jersey became the first state in the northeast to allow districts to display advertisements on their school buses, noting that districts could earn up to $1,000 per bus by selling ads, The Star-Ledger reported. Other states like Ohio, Utah and Washington had also considered a similar move.

Two years ago, Idaho high school teacher Jeb Harrison started selling ad space on his tests and handouts -- by striking a deal with a local pizza shop.

Florida's Orange County Public Schools have adopted an advertising program that allows marketing in areas including online, on lunch menus, play sponsorships and a parking garage billboard. In about 18 months, the district had made about $270,000, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

While these districts have implemented programs, others are still venturing into the field. Late last month, North Carolina's Guilford County schools discussed at its school board meeting proposals to permit marketing, ranging from ads inside schools to selling naming rights for school stadiums and buildings, WGHP-TV reported.

And there's more to read at the link.

What bothers me is that school district residents who refuse tax increases seem to want something for nothing. They may think that they may never have to support their schools again if schools can just sell ads. On the other hand, I wonder about how much my students really pay attention to ads every where else in their lives they encounter them. I have gotten pretty good at not noticing ads online just because they are so ubiquitous. I guess this also touches upon my earlier rant about PTA/PTO fundraisers.

Have schools ever really been ad-free zones, at least in the last twenty years? Shouldn't they be?

A while back, one of the neighboring school districts cut back on transportation for after school activities. Perhaps, during the last weeks they ran the service, they could have painted along the sides of each bus, "This bus's cancellation provided by the taxpayers of District X." But I guess that would be too bitter, even if true.

What do you think? Are ads in the classroom a harmless way to raise funding?

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At 10/19/11, 7:07 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Harmless, probably. The problem I see is what you bring up: if there is an alternate source of funding, it NEVER becomes additional funding. It is used as an excuse to reduce other (tax-based) funding. I mean, look at the bill of goods that was sold when states were signing up for lotteries: school funding! lots of money! Here in Florida, the legislature decreased funding for schools and replaced that money with lottery money. Same amount (actually, less money), but less coming from the state tax coffers. I'd bet the same thing will happening with selling ads. I understand the local districts' money crunch, but I don't think this is the way to solve it.

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